tv C-SPAN Weekend CSPAN September 12, 2010 6:00am-7:00am EDT
have gotten those airplanes on the ground at the final destination for those on file, in consideration that any aircraft that was being controlled by terrorists would not respond anyway, and it seems to me like the resulting chaos that occurred after this diversion of airplanes and lack of being able to assist them to get to a destination airport, and for example, where fuel became critical and had to land where it landed, in retrospect, was there any consideration to in the future allowing the aircraft to go ahead and land at their destination airport? >> no, to be honest with you, [unintelligible] at thewe did not know that at te
time. not that we had time to think about that, but now that we do, the answer is yes. we were just doing the best we could on that particular day. >> being right there in new york, which both towers on fire, everyone was considered a threat. we were asked probably 15 or 20 times, are you still with us? are you still with us? they were not sure -- these guys will tell you here, they were
not sure who was what, where was where, in our situation. i would say -- i would not say they forgot about us, but there were times that we felt like we were forgotten about, because they blew us east of the airport, probably 60 miles before they turned us back -- flew us east of the airport, and all the time asking, are you still with us? it was just total mass confusion all over. >> i wanted to thank the four of you for your actions that day and what you continue to do for us. i question is for the commercial pilot. i was wondering how you decided to tell the passengers what was going on. did you consider lying to them? [laughter]
a small bump in the aircraft, you know. >> that would be a hard-line to cover up. the best policy was just to be honest with them. they are all in a life-and-death situation, and had every right to know that. the moment that i knew that everyone's life was somewhat in danger and at risk, i let them know. i tell them, as far as i know, we are at work. >> i did not say a word, because i did not know. we were over allentown, pennsylvania. we started down and 18,000 feet and saw the smoke coming off the first tower that had been hit. we thought it was an air conditioning unit that was on fire. a first officer and i were discussing that. look at the world trade center, i see smoke on the tower. but the chatter on the frequency had died down to nothing, to the point where they were not answering my calls when i was calling in, when i was working the radio.
i started diagnosing the airplane is having a radio problem, because center an approach were missing all my calls to them. the only time i would hear from them is when they would call me. my passengers got a ride that morning because we were descending for four thousand feet. the smoke from the forel -- first world trade center tower was obscuring laguardia airport. i asked the controller on the approach, we cannot see the field. there was no answer. three times i called them, causing about 10 seconds in between, and there was nothing. there was no chatter, no talk, no anything. then he came back screaming at us, are you with me? i said roger, we are descending down to four thousand feet.
he ordered a hard left turn and started screaming turn left, immediately, now, now, immediately. we started rolling into a 25- degree bank, which is our standard turn. then he is hollering us to tighten up the turn. tighten it up, keep it coming, tighten it up. i told eric, roll it into 45. he rolled it into 45. when you roll a big jet that the, the nose wants to drop. so he is training on the controls, and that is when i joined him on the controls. with the comptroller still screaming at us. then he rolled us back hard right. rollback hard right, keep it coming, and turn, turn, turn, now. i have never had a controller scream like that, be that excited.
as we are coming out of the right turn, we heard on another frequency, we just saw an airplane hit the world trade center. and i looked up and saw the impact at that point. i forgot what we were talking about. [laughter] did i let my passengers know? no, i did not. in the middle of the right hand turn, we were rolling about 60 degrees of bank when the flight attendant called up to the cockpit. i instinctively picked up the headset and said what? she said what in god's name is going on up there? you drew me to the floor. >> i said i cannot talk now, and slammed the phone down. after we landed at laguardia, we
read the next to the last aircraft to land at laguardia. they took us off the runway. we were facing the world trade center, watching it burn. eric and i are discussing the fact that we hope they are getting everyone out of there. a flight attendant comes up and says, someone on the phone back there said something about a cessna running into the world trade center. we started piecing things together. we did not know what size the airplane was, why the first one was on fire. we had nothing to tell people, because we did not know until we got to the gate about 30 minutes later, because longoria was on a ground stop and there was no room. it took forever to get to the gate, but once we got to the gate and people got off, they were actually thanking me for the flight. [laughter] they were happy to be on the .round frictio
my wife had called and left me three messages asking me to call her, and i called her. as i am talking to her, she tells me that an airplane just at the pentagon. that is when i knew it's time to get everyone off. i came back and told the crew. they were getting ready to go to our next stop at kansas city. i told them we have to get off the airplane and at of the airport, that the nation is under attack. they just looked at me like "yeah, right." then we were ordered off the aircraft. laguardia airport was like a scene from a horror movie. the gathered us up. there was another fellow crew that joined us and they had us
remove our insignia and said that we don't know if there are terrorist in the airport or not, so we don't want any flight crew being forced back on an airplane. >> were you finished? >> i did not mean to go on and on. >> the question as to what pilots told the passengers, i heard from several hundred pilots when i started to research this book, and the response was not consistent across the ranks. some pilots were worried that if they said anything, if there were hijackers on their aircraft, that they could be tipping them off that some successful hijacks were occurring. they did not want to say anything. some of them, because they did not know if they had hijackers on for their aircraft, those that had the cab and displays
that show where you are aircraft is relative to your destination , they were turning those of as they were diverting, because they did not even on their passengers should to know they were diverting. -- they did not want their passengers to note. some of them were barricading themselves into the cockpit and making sure no one could break through the cockpit. there were telling their flight attendants under no circumstances to open the cockpit door. other captains and first officers who had several law enforcement officers on board their aircraft that day that happened to be flying for part of their work that day and were carrying weapons, they were trying to confirm if those people were really they said they were. they were trying to go through their airlines dispatched to find out, here is the information that you have to present to the captain, a
document if you are carrying a firearm. so these captains were on the phone with dispatch saying we have this guy and this guy on our plane, are they really do they say they are? when they got the word back that they were, they were having these law enforcement officers come forward and protect their cockpits. they were moving into first class. one captain had to federal law enforcement officers on board his aircraft. he was a 747 coming in from europe. he had them come upstairs where the cockpit is on the 747 and he told them they could sit in the very front seat there. one of them said i am standing right by the door, capt. he actually had his firearm under his jacket in his hand, and he stood there for the remainder of the flight, protecting the cockpit. so they all really responded differently. some of them did tell their
passengers that some of them made a very conscious decision not to tell their passengers anything. >> i think we have time for about two more questions. >> i am a pilot with american and i want to thank the pilots on the day is right now for doing an extremely professional job in extremely uncertain predicament. for those of us is that on the flight deck for most of our life, we have pride when we know as much as we can about a situation. when there is a complete lack of certainty with respect to where you are going forward, and angst, such a level of bank especially to the captain of the flight. i can identify in some way with what you went through, even though i was not there that day. on the divert fields, places
like gander, and i annexed in bermuda got saturated also. were there quoted as to how many diverse could go to each place of hand? was there a strategy that was entertain to begin with b.g.e. entertainment to begin with? -- was there a strategy that was entertained to begin with? >> if there were, we were not aware of it. we knew that they were limited to have many aircraft that could take. their quota was how many they could put on a ramp, and that is how much they were taking. when they filled up a ramp, they had to leave a runway open, but someone mentioned he was trapped behind 38 aircraft. they fill them up at halifax and
push them over the top, because the state of maine sticks out over the north. the route to them on to montreal as well. i think they filled all their quotas. >> my impression was that bermuda especially got saturated with airplanes. it looked like there were couple of planes that might have left the hard surface, just in navigating the tarmac, to make their way around to find a place to rest. >> ben mentioned mexico as well. i know on the west coast, coming in from alaska, the same thing there. a lot of airports got filled up with their planes. when they started at the time they did, most of the internationals were in the air. a lot of them could not turn around and go back, so they only had one place to go.
[applause] >> i also wanted to thank the military fighter pilots for the extraordinary bravery that you and all the others like you showed on that day and the following days. i cannot imagine having to face what you did that day. my question was, you talk briefly about having a one-way conversations. did you not have communication with all the commercial pilots? you talked about lying next to them and looking at them. could you not talk to them? >> not until we got them on the frequency that we were on. we tried to reach them on the emergency frequency. in the end, i think we did talk to everybody. some of the helicopters we did not talk to. quite frankly, they got the message, and we did not need to
talk to them. [laughter] that was just one less problem we had to deal with. the assumption is, nobody is on the same frequency, so we used the emergency frequency a lot. i still get a hard time from my fighter pilot buddies now from hell out -- for how much talking i did on the emergency frequency on 9/11. >> at that time we only had uhf radios, and most civilian are vhf. or vhs o
>> will you join me in thanking this panel? [applause] the university of texas at dallas, the eugene mcdermott library, and the history of aviation collection would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to all the panelists for green to come and share their stories with us. and to all of you for coming here to hear their stories. we would also like to thank the many people who made this possible, because as you can imagine, putting on something like this with three months' notice took a lot of work and time and effort. let me thank lynn spencer, who is she had not agreed to come
and speak, we will expect to see all of you next summer, we would have never thought of this great idea. to the mcdermott library special collection coordinator, his staff, the library's program coordinator and manager, and the communications department, the staff of the development office, and many others from across campus such as the ambassadors, the book store, police, facilities management, and media services. without all of them, none of this would have been possible. the frontiers of light museum, the collectors club of ellis, our thanks to c-span for agreeing to carry this message live to the nation. and finally, a special thanks again to all of you for agreeing to come on such short notice,
to: scroggins or missing that football game. we really do appreciate you sharing your story. please allow our panelists to exit first. you can browse the exhibits from special collections and enjoy the reception. thank you very much for being here with us today, and we look forward to seeing all of you in special collections and the eugene mcdermott library here at the university of texas at dallas. thank you again. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> here is a look of some of our politics programming today. at 6:30 p.m. we will have the
massachusetts governor's debate. at 9:30 p.m. we will have the new hampshire republican senate primary debate. >> that is exactly what you told that lady. >> that is not what i said. >> this is stuff i have talked about that nobody else has talked about. >> let's talk about results. we have more consolidation in this administration than any other administration. i will name three. we just combine three of the agencies involved in economic development. we do not need that unnecessary duplicate -- duplication. that is just one example. there are many. i am talking about results. tim has talked about the pension system. we are the only ones to have gotten it done. >> i had a $22 billion unfunded
-- >> you never even swung at the ball. >> national security includes border security. that is the first of the federal government. they have not been doing their job. i propose we secure that border however we can do it and we do it quickly. there is no reason that we cannot. in the absence of the federal government stepping in and providing security along the border, states should be able to do it. i support arizona and the arizona law. i have read that law. it is the state's some responsibility to protect the citizens. one of the other candidates in this race did not support the arizona law. we think differently on that issue. going forward, we have to have a tough immigration policy so that employees that employee
illegal immigrants are punished. we need to have a solid immigration policy. >> what's our continuing political coverage today at 6:00 27:30 eastern. that is on c-span. monday, the u.s. senate impeachment trial committee begins their hearing for the prosecution of a u.s. district judge. he is charged with excepting gives and cash. the proceedings are expected to last throughout the week. what live proceedings beginning at 8:00 at 8:00 a.m. eastern on c-span2. president obama and defense secretary robert gates spoke at a ceremony at the pentagon yesterday. they were joined by the joint chiefs of staff chairman. the president has asked americans to honor the fallen.
gates, distinguished guests, most of all families and friends of those we lost on 9/11, inside the pentagon, near the chapel, lies a quilt on display. it was stitched together by dozens of americans who simply wanted those of us who survived the attack on his building to note that day, our fellow citizens, would always remember those who did not. on that quilt are written these words by a little girl, "in our hearts, we weep for you. in our minds, we honor you." today, her words still comfort us, because today, we still weak for those we lost here and in new york -- weep for those we lost here, in new york, and in somerset county. we honor them with our presence and certainly with this memorial.
mostly, we honor them with our lives, with what we have done from that day to this, the sacrifices we have borne, the laughter we have shared, the hope we have dared to let back into our hearts. unspeakable carnage was visited upon us here, but it did not conquer us. unimaginable loss was felled by a us here, but it does not diminish -- felt by us here, but it does not diminish us. what lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. let us weep for what lies behind us. let us honor what lies in front of us. let us remember always what lies
much like this, the column of the clear september morning was shattered by the worst act of terrorism in our history. the attack on the world trade center, flight 93 over pennsylvania, and the pentagon -- steps from where we stand today, claimed thousands of innocent victims and forever scarred their families and friends and all americans. we honor and remember those who fell, surrounded by those who love them and still feel the pain of their loss. this remembered continues in ways large and small. yesterday we had the official presentation of the pentagon 9/11 quilt featuring the faces of all 184 of those who died on these grounds. we are grateful for the work and dedication of the volunteers who brought that moving project into reality. just west of here, a portion of washington boulevard is being
named 9/11 q rose memorial highway. it will remind those passing by -- heroes memorial highway. it will remind those passing by what happened. young americans answered the call to serve. thousands have made the ultimate sacrifice. their absence is felt today, too, and everyday. our troops and their families have paid a steep price these past nine years and have shown resilience end strength -- and strength to a country that cherishes their service and the memory of those who have fallen. we are honored that the president is here to help us commemorate this anniversary. it is my great pleasure to introduce our commander-in- chief, the president of the united states. [applause]
>> secretary gates, admiral mullen, members of the armed forces, my fellow americans, most of all to you, the survivors who still bear the scars of the tragedy and destruction, to the families who are carrying in your hearts the memories of loved ones you lost nation, this is a day of remembering, of reflection, and with god's grace, a day of unity and renewal. we gathered to remember, at this hallowedur, on ground, the places where we feel such grief and where are healing goes on. we gather at the pentagon where
the names of the lost are forever etched in stone. we gather in a pennsylvania field where a plane went down and a tower of voices will rise and echoed through the ages -- echo through the ages. we gather where the twin towers fell, a site where work continues so that next year, on the 10th anniversary, the water will flow in steady tribute to the nearly 3000 innocent lost. on this day, it is perhaps natural to focus on the images of that awful morning -- images that are seared into our souls. it is tempting to dwell on the final moments of the loved ones whose lives were taken so cruelly. at these memorials, your presence today reminds us to remember the fullness of their
time on earth. there were fathers and mothers raising families, brothers and sisters pursuing their dreams, sons and daughters, their whole lives before them. they were civilians and service members. some never saw the danger coming. others saw the peril and rushed to save others, up those stairwells, into the flames coming into the cockpit. there were white, black, brown, men, women, children. all races, many faiths. americans and people from far corners of the world. they were snatched from us senselessly and much too soon, but they lived well. they live on in you.
nine years have now passed. in that time, you have shed more tears that we will ever know. though it must seem some days as though the world has gone on to other things, i say to you today that your loved ones endure in the heart of our nation now and forever. our remembrances today also requires a certain reflection -- require a server reflection as a nation and as individuals. -- require a certain reflection as a nation and as individuals. how do we preserve their legacy, not just today, but every day? we need not look far for our answers. the perpetrators of this evil act did not simply attack
america. they attacked the very idea of america itself, all that we stand for and represent in the world. the highest honor we can pay those we lost, indeed, our greatest weapon in this ongoing war, is to do what our adversaries fear the most -- stayed true to who we are as americans, renew our sense of common purpose, to say that we define the character of our country and we will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in caves distort who we are. they doubted our will. as americans, we persevered. today in afghanistan and beyond,
we have gone on the offensive and struck major blows against the al qaeda and the taliban. we will do what is necessary to protect our country. we honor all those who served to keep us safe. they may seek to strike fear in us, but they are no match for our resilience. we do not succumb to fear, nor will we squander the optimism that has always defined as as a people -- us as a people. on a day when others saw to destroy, we have chosen to build. we have summoned the goodness of the american people. they may think to exploit our freedoms, but we will not sacrifice the liberty we cherish or hunker down behind walls of suspicion and mistrust. they may wish to drive us apart, but we will not give in to their
hatred and prejudice. scripture teaches us to get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling, and slander, along with every form of malice. they may seek to spark conflict between different faiths, but as americans we are not and will never be at war with islam. it was not our religion that attacked us that september day. it was al-qaeda, a story band of men which perverts' religion -- sorry band of men which perverts religion. we will stay true to our traditions here it home as a burst and tolerant nation -- as a diverse and tolerant nation. we champion the rights of every american, including the right to worship as one chooses.
those who attack saw to demoralize, divide, deprive us of the very unity and the very ideals that make america america -- the qualities that have made as a beacon of freedom and hope to billions around the world -- made us a begin of freedom and hope -- beacon of freedom and hope to billions around the world. we will keep alive the virtues and values that make us who we are and who we must always be. for our cause is just, our spirit is strong, our resolve is unwavering. generations before us have come together. let us come to get there today and all days to a firm certain
inalienable rights. to affirm life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. on this day and in the days to come, we choose to stay true to our best selves as one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. this is how we choose to honor the fallen. your families, your friends, your fellow service members. this is how we will keep alive the legacy of these proud and patriotic americans. this is how we will prevail in this great test of our time. this is how we will preserve and protect the country that we love and pass it safer and stronger to future generations.